Uckfield Lions joined clubs from Battle, Bexhill, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings and Rye on March 8 to stage their annual It’s a Special Knockout challenge at Bede’s School, Upper Dicker.
The event for all across East Sussex with special needs and disabilities was founded by Uckfield Lions and is now in its 15th year. This was their biggest event ever.
More than 140 contestants in 19 teams were joined by families, friends and carers. Organisations taking part for the first time were Chailey Heritage and St Mary’s, Bexhill.
Mayors from local towns - who all regard this as one of their ‘must do’ functions - included Ian Smith (Uckfield), Janet Coles (Eastbourne) and Brian Kentfield (Bexhill.) Also present was Hailsham deputy mayor Amanda O’Rawe.
They were all delighted to be heavily involved, even if mayoral decorum went out of the window several times with the enjoyment of the event. Hailsham Town Crier, Lion Geoff Rowe, opened the event with loud bell ringing and some PCSOs joined the fun.
Olympic Gold winner and TV star Jayne Torvill OBE, from Heathfield, arrived during the afternoon and chatted to the contestants, signing autographs and posing for photographs.
She has a special relationship with Bexhill Lions Club and had previously agreed to become an honorary member. Bexhill president Richard Winrow presented her with a new Lions badge.
Games included relay races as well as popular team games such as ‘Dinner for 6’, ‘Duckpond’, ‘Hang out the Washing’ and ‘Postman Pat’ with friends and supporters cheering teams on.
Contests for the poster competition and joker cards competition judged by the mayors, Jayne Torvill and Lions Zone Chairman Keith Mates was extremely sharp.
The competitors’ disco run by Lion Kevin Hawkins, who also took on the role of being the MC for this riotous and highly enjoyed afternoon, didn’t diminish their energies – although carers and organisers were starting to wilt.
After a well-fought competition by all teams, winners were a team from PHAB, second prize went to Jemini Response from Hailsham and third prize to Bexhill Gateway.
All participants were presented with medals and certificates by the mayors and the three winning teams received Knockout Cups. The prize, sponsored by Bede’s School and first presented last year, called Spirit of the Knockout was won by another team from PHAB, awarded for their endeavour, sportsmanship and enthusiasm and presented by some of the Bede’s students.